Meat & Potatoes: Neeps and Tattie-Cakes with Braised Short Ribs

Neeps and Tatties. That did not come out of my brain. But I have had them on my brain ever since I first read about them over at The Daily Spud. It seems Neeps and Tatties are a traditional Scotish favorite, though my version is hardly traditional.

I am sure you can guess that the Tatties are taters. Actualy potaters. But Neeps may be new to you. If so I hope the name makes you smile as much as it does me. Especially when said in conjunction with Tatties! Neeps and Tatties. I dare not say where my mind goes when I hear that phrase.

But where my mind should be going is to the Scotish turnip, or what we would call a rutabaga. Because that’s what a Neep is. A super huge rutabaga. I used regular old American-sized rutabagas so keep that in mind when reading the recipe. It’s a long recipe too so I want to get a move on here. But I do need to say this is another entry in  my week of Meat and Potatoes, or rather my week of Meat and Tatties (with Neeps).

braised short ribsJust because the roots have such a cute name in this recipe, that is no reason to give short shrift to the meat. Remember I said I am doing a week if Meat AND Potato recipes, and afterall Meat has top billing.

So this meat comes in the form of a red wine braised short rib. I love short ribs prepared this way. I chose a Zinfandel so that its spiciness would stand up to the bold flavors of the Neeps (there I go using that word again). I further enhanced this recipe with the use of a lot of bold black pepper. More than you may think seems right. But it works, trust me. So we’ve got bold spice, black pepper and all that beefy flavor. Still, I don’t want to lose all my hard work to too big a sauce. So I chose to braise the meat in chicken broth. I think it helps let the spice get noticed, as well as keeps all the beef’s intensity centered around the short ribs with their melt in your mouth texture!

So you see, I am tempted to say who needs Neeps with a combination of flavors like this. But then I’d have to stop using the phrase Neeps and Tatties. And I don’t want to stop. Neeps and Tatties!

 Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs with Neeps and Tattie-Cakes serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe.

  • 4 lb individually cut short ribs, about 4‑inches long each
  • kosher salt
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sli bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 (750ml) bottle zinfandel wine
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 3 clv garlic, left whole and unpeeled
  • 1 T whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium rutabagas, about 1/2 lb total
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, about 3/4 lb total

short ribs with neeps and tattie-cakesMake the Short Ribs:

Bring the ribs to room temperature and generously sprinkle them with salt. Then preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy bottomed cast iron Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides about 12 minutes total. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the chopped bacon to the pot and cook until the fat has rendered about 5 minutes. Add the leeks, onion, carrots, celery and garlic stirring frequently until they are lightly colored. Turn the heat to medium-low and add half of the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Return the ribs to the pot and add the rest of the wine and the chicken stock, peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs.

As the liquid slowly comes to a boil skim of any scum that rises to the surface. Once it boils cover the pot and cook in the oven about 3 hours. The meat should be fork tender and falling off the bone. At this point remove the pot from the oven and let it come to room temperature, then refrigerate the pot over night.

The next day remove the pot from the refrigerator and peel off all the fat that has jelled on the surface. Reheat the pot to just warm and carefully remove the meat and bones, taking care to keep the meat intact. Place the meat on a cutting board and gently lift it off the bones and remove any sinews or fat. Keeping the shape of the meat intact. Place the meat in a baking dish and set aside.

Strain the remaining liquid from the pot into a smaller saucepan, pressing down on the solids to get all the liquid. Add the honey and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and reduce until a thickened smooth consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Prepare the Neeps and Tattie-Cakes:

Using a box grater, or the equivilent sized grating disc on a food processor, grate the potatoes and the rutabagas.

Combine them both in a large bowl. Season with salt and a pinch of white pepper. Toss to combine. Add flour and stir the mixture together well to distribute the flour evenly. Add egg continuing to stir and mix.

In a large saute pan set over medium heat, heat about 1/4″ deep of vegetable oil.

While the oil heats form the potato mixture into 3‑inch rounds that are about 1/2‑inch thick. Using a spatula so that the cakes do not fall apart carefully add them to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and season with more salt.

To Serve:

Preheat the oven to 325 degress F. Pour the reserved sauce over the rib meat and place the ribs in their baking dish into the oven, uncovered to bake about 20 minutes, or until heated through. Check often and baste several times during the cooking.

This would be the time to start the neep and tattie-cakes frying as described above. Place a warm tattie-cake onto an individual low sided serving bowl. Remove the meat from the oven and top each one with 1 or 2 rib sections. Spoon alittle of the sauce into the bowl and garnish as you like. Serve warm.


Greg Henry